Semantics

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By Andreas Blank

Comprises revised papers from a September 1996 symposium which supplied a discussion board for synchronically and diachronically orientated students to switch principles and for American and eu cognitive linguists to confront representatives of other instructions in eu structural semantics. Papers are in sections on theories and types, descriptive different types, and case experiences, and think about parts akin to cognitive and structural semantics, diachronic prototype semantics, synecdoche as a cognitive and communicative technique, and intensifiers as ambitions and assets of semantic swap.

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Historical Semantics and Cognition

Comprises revised papers from a September 1996 symposium which supplied a discussion board for synchronically and diachronically orientated students to interchange rules and for American and ecu cognitive linguists to confront representatives of alternative instructions in eu structural semantics. Papers are in sections on theories and versions, descriptive different types, and case experiences, and think about parts reminiscent of cognitive and structural semantics, diachronic prototype semantics, synecdoche as a cognitive and communicative process, and intensifiers as pursuits and assets of semantic swap.

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What goes into a concept? Coseriu (1990: 261) - rightly - criticises the view that concepts might be "imagenes de las clases" mental representations ("pictures") of categories. A crucial notion of Cognitive Grammar (Langacker 1987: 183-185) is that the meaning of an expression involves the~'profIling" (or designation) of an entity, against backiCoW}d assumptIOns. ) The (by now) classic example is the word hypotenuse (Fillmore 1985). The word designates a straight line, no more, no less. A hypotenuse, Cognitive Semantics and Structural Semantics 39 however, is categorised (recognised) as such, in virtue of the fact that the straight line functions as part of a non-designated (non-profiled) entity, namely, a right-angled triangle.

Would not this fact, of itself, guarantee the speaker's full mastery of the word? Values and contrasts at the level of signification need play no role whatsoever in a speaker's performance. In Structural Semantics, however, the unity of meanings at the level of signification is a logical necessity, rather than an empirical matter. Coseriu (1977: 8-10) writes that meaning variants can be derived from meaning invariants (significations), but not vice versa; it is only on the basis of unitary meanings that meaning variants can be established at all (Coseriu 1990: 270).

This was the principal theoretical import of Berlin and Kay's (1969) work on colour categories. Essentially, Berlin and Kay demonstrated for a semantic domain (colour) the same kinds of universal constraints that Jakobson (1968) had claimed for phonology. Tenninology, however, is far from unifonn. g. Searle 1980, Bierwisch 1981, Kirsner 1993, Wunderlich 1993). Although these approaches may differ in their details (especially concerning the manner in which "linguistic" meanings are represented and get projected onto encyclopedic meanings), a common theme is the assumption that linguistic meanings are unitary, clearly-defmed entities, which lack the rich detail derived from experience of the world.

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